Goharzadeh, A., Zhuang, Y., Yap, Y. F., Chai, John, Mathew, N., Vargas, F. M. and Biswal, S. L. (2014) Experimental investigation of Asphaltene deposition in a transparent mini-channel. In: HEFAT14, International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Jul. 14 – 16, 2014, Orlando, Fl, USA.

One of the most recurring flow assurance problems in oil and gas industry is associated to the formation of organic and inorganic deposits in the wellbores and the near-wellbore regions. In particular, the depositions of asphaltene in wellbores represent both a major obstacle for petroleum engineers and a challenging topic for scientists. This paper focuses on experimental investigation of asphaltene deposition in transparent mini-channel. The working fluid is a mixture of heptane and crude oil. Induced by the addition of n-heptane, the dissolved asphaltene in crude oil precipitates to form asphaltene particles which deposit on the walls of the transparent mini-channel at ambient temperature. The thickness of asphaltene deposition is estimated using a visualization technique based on 3D microscopy. The thickness of the deposition layer is quantified and the two-dimensional profile of the deposition at selected axial section is measured. The obtained experimental results provide new insights into the deposition process in micro-scale and will be used to validate a developed numerical model.

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